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Gateway in the News
Local Counselor Hosting Addiction Bereavement Weekend
TAPinto New Providence October 22, 2017
NEW PROVIDENCE — Thomas Dwyer, founder of the Gateway Center for Counseling and Recovery in New Providence, NJ, is hosting an Addiction Bereavement Weekend, Nov. 17-19. Joining Tom is fellow counselor, Elaine “Lani” Bonifacic, of Wyckoff, NJ. Both Dwyer and Bonifacic run separate pro bono biweekly addiction bereavement groups in addition to their own private practices. ... Show More/Less
...Dwyer is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Licensed Clinical Drug and Alcohol Counselor, and a Certified Thanatologist (grief and bereavement counselor). Bonifacic is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.
Dwyer decided to create this retreat after attending a week-long conference on grief counseling this past April. He soon recruited Bonifacic who shared his passion for the subject. Bonifacic explained that the current opiate epidemic claims an average 150 people a day in this country. By comparison, 117 people die daily from auto accidents. The difference is even more shocking when you think about the number of people driving cars compared to the number of people using opiates.
Dwyer knew something more had to be done to help the survivors of the lost loved ones when he started to see a sharp increase in requests for his addiction grief counseling services. His regular practice primarily focuses on mental health and addiction recovery but as the opiate death rates in the community started rising, so did his sessions for addiction grief counseling.
Dwyer and Bonifacic have recruited other counseling professionals to assist in this weekend of healing. Every professional involved in the weekend is volunteering his or her time. Dwyer said “It is very gratifying to see so many professionals willing to give of their time for such a meaningful event”. The retreat will be held at the non-profit conference center, Villa Pauline, in Mendham, NJ. There will be several therapeutic workshops and opportunities for participants to share their unique form of grief with others who understand the pain. Dwyer also said “Sadly, many of the survivors feel judged and stigmatized by the loss of their loved one and it had been difficult for them to find others who understand their challenging loss.” Because of the volunteerism and some outside sponsorships, the cost of the retreat for two nights, five meals, and all the workshops is only $195. This is a not-for-profit event. Any money left over after paying all overhead expenses will be donated to a drug education program and/or to Villa Pauline.
Anyone interested in the weekend should call Dwyer's office at (908) 665-1000 or go to his web site at www.gatewaycenterforcounseling.com.
Storm Cancels Important Drug Education Program at Area High Schools Consortium Event
TAPinto New Providence March 17, 2017
NEW PROVIDENCE — NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - The recent snow storm created dangerous driving conditions on Wednesday, March 15, which led to the closing of the New Providence High School and the much anticipated Parent Wellness Series event: Danger in Your Medicine Cabinet: What Every Parent Needs to Know. The area high schools of New Providence... Show More/Less
...Berkeley Heights, Chatham, Millburn, and Summit sponsor important parent education events, which rotate among the schools.
Dave Chango, Student Assistance Counselor, at New Providence High School, helped organize the March 15, event. He had arranged experts in the field of drug education and prevention to be panelist for an interactive discussion of the current heroin epidemic, which often originates in one’s own medicine cabinet. These experts included: Local therapist, Thomas Dwyer, LPC, LCADC, Executive Director of the Gateway Center for Counseling and Recovery in New Providence, who specializes in addictions with individuals and families, Pamela Capaci, Executor Director of Prevention Links of NJ, which provides community education on drugs and alcohol, and Angelo Valente, Executor Director of the Partnership of a Drug Free NJ (PDRNJ), which collaborates with local government and businesses to help “unsell” drug use in New Jersey.
Chango said that high school parents attending the event were going to be shown a short PDRNJvideo of four typical middle class suburban mothers sharing their sad heroin stories involving their children which he said he hoped would then lead to an interactive discussion between the parents and the panelists. The panelists were ready to provide prevention education, as well as advice to parents who may suspect or know of their children’s active use of drugs and/or alcohol. The video can be seen online at talknownj.com “Moms Know Best: A Crucial Message for Parents”
In preparing for this symposium, he said he learned several disturbing facts about the current heroin epidemic from the panelists that he thinks parents should know, including these troubling facts: many children think taking prescription drugs from the medicine cabinet is safer to take to get high, even though they are just as dangerous and addictive; in NJ one in four teenagers report to abusing prescription drugs, and NJ has some of the purest and cheapest heroin in the country. Chango said that this is a difficult message to deliver to parents but they need hear it and to know that there are expert resources to help.
Local Counselor Awarded for Work with Opiate Addiction
by TAPinto New Providence Staff, July 6, 2016
NEW PROVIDENCE — New Providence counselor, Thomas Dwyer, founder of the Gateway Center for Counseling and Recovery was honored with the Spotlight on Service Excellence Award, by the Mental Health Association of New Jersey (MHANJ) at their annual Evening of Excellence gala on June 21, 2016, at the Galloping Hill Caterers. The award is given to those service addiction providers who have demonstrated outstanding treatment... Show More/Less
...to those affected by opiate addiction.
When asked to describe his response to the award and Gateway’s treatment approach, Dwyer said, “As the only private practitioner among the recipients, it is truly an honor to be recognized for work that is done here. Gateway’s treatment model not only incorporates the substance abuser but also looks at the social determinants, which in includes family, career, and home life. Clients do not live in a vacuum, they are faced with stressors from personal insecurities, family, job and from many other sources. These are addressed and, when possible, make them part of the treatment sessions.” Dwyer continued saying, “Sadly, in the United States approximately one hundred substance abusers lose the battle with opiate addiction every day, leaving the loved-ones behind to learn to cope with their loss. To serve this community need, Gateway offers the Gateway Addiction Bereavement Group, which is specifically focused on members who lost a loved-one from substance abuse, regardless if it is drug or alcohol related.”
Dwyer explained that one of the unique treatment techniques he uses is one for which he coined the term, Joy Stone Therapy. “This simple approach,” he shared, “has proven very useful with our clients. When clients come into therapy, they are offered a small hand-held river stone with the word “Joy” inscribed on it. Clients are, at times, overwhelmed with their life stressors. They have forgotten the “joyful” times, so by holding the stone the client shares and processes their happier moments. This can springboard the client to developing new coping skills. When possible, they keep the stone with them at all times, and hold onto it when negative thoughts begin to heighten. Dwyer further stated that Joy Stone Therapy, combined with Cognitive Behavior Therapy, appropriate medications, mindfulness and meditation have proven very effective.
Dwyer is Licensed Professional Counselor and a Licensed Clinical and Alcohol Counselor, as well as a certified Thanatologist (grief and bereavement counselor). The Gateway Center for Counseling and Recovery provides counseling for substance abuse, mental health, family conflicts, couples, and grief.
For more information, go to www.gatewaycenterforcounseling.com or call 908-665-1000.
New Providence Counselor Elected President of Drug Rehab Family Association
TAPinto.net February 20, 2016
NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - New Providence Counselor, Thomas Dwyer, LPC, LCADC, CT was recently elected president of the board of directors of the Daytop NJ Family Association.Dwyer has been an active volunteer and board member for the past fifteen years. The Daytop NJ Family Association is a highly organized support network for Daytop NJ, an inpatient drug rehabilitation facility in Mendham and Pittsgrove, New Jersey, serving adolescent males and females. The Family Association... Show More/Less
runs parent groups facilitated by trained parents throughout the state. Additionally, it provides family education, raises money, provides secondary education scholarships and is considered a vital component of the treatment program. Dwyer said, “It is an honor to be elected as the next board president. Giving back to the community is important to me and I cannot think of a better way to serve those who have been touched directly or indirectly by addiction.”
James Curtin, Daytop’s President and Chief Executive Officer commented about Dwyer’s volunteerism by saying, “Tom has been an invaluable volunteer for Daytop. His understanding of the family issues surrounding addiction has been critical to helping our residents and their families.” He continued saying, “Tom has the unique benefit of having an in-depth knowledge of the corporate world and the counseling field. We are truly fortunate to have him serve as our next Family Association president.”
Dwyer is the founder of the Gateway Center for Counseling and Recovery located at 72 Floral Avenue, New Providence, New Jersey. He is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LPC) and a Licensed Drug and Alcohol Counselor (LCADC). Dwyer is also a Certified Thanatologist (CT) providing grief and bereavement counseling. As another service to the community, he provides a pro bono biweekly support group for those who have lost a loved one from substance abuse. For more information regarding the practice and services, please call (908) 665-1000 or visit the web site: www.gatewaycenterforcounseling.com.
New Providence counselor provides pro bono grief and bereavement meetings
NJ.com and Hunterdon County Democrat, April 27, 2015
Thomas Dwyer, executive director and founder of the Gateway Center for Counseling and Recovery, in New Providence, is keeping his promise of providing pro bono grief and bereavement group meetings for those who have lost a loved from drugs and/or alcohol. When asked why he started this group, he said, "Several years ago, while working... Show More/Less
at a drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility, a young beautiful 24 year-old client of the agency died of a drug overdose. At the time, I tried to help the grieving father find a bereavement support group that was focused on a loss from substance abuse. I was shocked and frustrated when I could not find one. I eventually provided the father the name of a peer support group that deals with the loss of a child but not necessarily due to substance abuse. It was from that experience that I made a promise to myself that if I ever established a successful counseling practice, I would "give back" to the community this much needed service." Tom continued saying, "Fortunately, I am now in that position, so recently, I set up my first peer support group meeting called the Gateway Addiction Bereavement Group. I have done research and I believe I am the only one in the State of NJ that is offering a weekly pro bono grief support group of this type that is facilitated by a professionally licensed counselor certified in grief and bereavement".
Dwyer said that his group was almost at capacity before the first meeting. He stated that he initially contacted some colleagues in his professional network and the phone soon began to ring from those asking to join the group. After the first couple of weeks he capped the size of the group due to space restrictions but now that the warm weather has finally arrived, some group members cannot commit to attending weekly, so he is opening up the registration for more group members.
Dwyer stated he looks forward to the day when there is no need for his group. "I wish there wasn't a need but with 100 people dying each day in this country from a drug overdose and our current epidemic with heroin use, the need is strong."
The Gateway Center for Counseling and Recovery provides counseling for mental health, family conflicts, substance abuse, and grief issues.
For more information, go to www.gatewaycenterforcounseling.com or call 908-665-1000.
Local counselor chosen as panelist for Gov. Christie’s drug awareness conference
By Barbara Rybolt, NJ.com and Independent Press, October 02, 2014
NEW PROVIDENCE — Local Counselor, Thomas Dwyer MA, LPC, LCADC, was selected as a guest panelist in Governor Chris Christie’s drug awareness conference held Tuesday, Sept. 30, at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark.
The conference titled, “The Many Faces of Addiction: Ending the Stigma” was co-hosted by Pastor Joseph Clark. Dwyer, who is the... Show More/Less
founder and Executive Director of the Gateway Center for Counseling and Recovery in New Providence said the goal of the conference was to bring together a cross-section of people with various backgrounds to educate the public on addiction and end the stigma often associated with addiction treatment.
Dwyer said he was, “honored to represent his field of mental health and addiction counseling for such an important mission.
"Many of my patients with substance abuse problems would have looked for help sooner if it was not for the stigma often associated with the disease of addiction … Society generally looks down on addiction and does not understand that addiction is a disease,” he said.
This point was amplified by the governor when he shared the story of the passing of Whitney Houston, whose funeral was held at the New Hope Baptist Church. Dwyer said the governor said he was severely criticized when he gave the executive order to fly flags in New Jersey at half-mast at the time of Houston's passing. He said he believed the criticism would not have happened if she died of another disease, one that had little or no stigma attached to it.
Joining Dwyer were former Governor James McGreevey, news anchor Laurie Dhue, former NFL quarterback Ray Lucas, author, chef and restaurant owner Jesse Schenker, as well as, several other panelists who shared their past personal and family experiences with substance abuse.
Dwyer also addressed the family issues surrounding substance abuse. “I have been working with families for many years in addressing the devastation addiction causes to the family. The consequences of addiction affect every family member and it takes a family to help treat it,” he said.
For more information on this subject go to the Governor’s Council on Addiction and Drug Abuse website.
For more information about Gateway Center for Counseling and Recovery go to the gatewaycenterforcounseling.com.
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